Milan-Empoli Preview: Back to Earth

Milan played an other-worldly match on Sunday away to Napoli for all three points, but on Friday, they must return to earth. Hosting 14th place Empoli, who are just six points above the drop, could actually be more difficult than facing the league leaders, as mentioned on the latest podcast. With gli Azzurri desperate for points and Milan needing every point possible to qualify for Champions League next season, this Good Friday match could easily bring the Rossoneri back to earth.

Sunday was great, but the guys need to come back to earth for Friday's match

Paolo Zanetti's side won their first match in the last five on Monday in their narrow 1-0 win over Lecce. A single Caputo goal gave them all three points in that match, but they also ended on ten men when Tonelli was sent off. For that match, Zanetti lined up: Perisan; Ebuehi, Ismajli, Luperto, Parisi; Akpa Akpro, Marin, Bandinelli; Baldanzi; Caputo, and Piccoli. Tonelli will obviously be suspended for this match, and their first goalkeeper, Vicario, is still in doubt as of this writing, as he has been struggling to come back from injury. Just as long as Destro does not sub on and score on us, I will get through this one.

The benevolent goalkeeper who has hosted Ukrainian refugees is in doubt for this one

Pioli got some good news this week. Not only was Brahim Díaz not injured on Sunday, but Messias returned to training this week and should be available for the bench. That leaves only Kalulu and Ibrahimović injured as of this writing, only two players missing. Like a normal amount of injuries. I am still getting used to this concept. Last time we faced Empoli, we had six players out and lost three more during the match. Let's hope this one goes much better.

How will we know if De Ketelaere is improving if he doesn't get any time?

Ahead of the big Champions League matchup on Wednesday, there is a chance that Pioli could rotate some players. He probably does not want to make too many changes from the successful side that destroyed Napoli on Sunday, as he will need consistency in both play and mentality. However, it is just good management to rest some legs and also give some time to players who may not have gotten as much time lately. He will need to be careful, though. In our first meeting in October, we only managed a win in stoppage time, and it took a near miracle at that.

There is talk of a Tomori-Thiaw CB pairing for this one

Whatever Pioli decides, his biggest challenge will be to maintain the mentality and take all three points. I have never understood why this day is called "Good Friday," as in Christian beliefs, it is the day that their Savior was crucified. But I do know that Pioli and the guys cannot afford to follow suit. Crucifixion is no longer in vogue. What this team needs is simply to keep their feet on the ground, work hard, and earn all three points. They just need to keep their heads out of the clouds and come back to earth.

This post inspired by the music of R.E.M.'s "Losing My Religion"

Our next match is 
Serie A Week 29
Milan vs. Empoli
Friday, April 7, 2023 • 21:00 CET (3pm EDT)
This match can be streamed LIVE on Paramount+ in the U.S.

Milan-Empoli Preview: Back to Earth Milan-Empoli Preview: Back to Earth Reviewed by Elaine on 6:00 AM Rating: 5
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